Justice delayed is justice denied

Opinion

To the Editor:

Do Black Lives Matter in Nova Scotia?

What will it take for Black Lives to Matter in Nova Scotia? The African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, representing African Nova Scotian organizations across the province, joins the many concerned citizens who are calling for the sentencing of Shawn Wade Hynes without further delay.

Hynes, a white man, attacked and shot Nhlanhla Dlamini, a man of African heritage, with a nail gun while at work — following weeks of racially motivated bullying — in what should have been deemed a hate crime. African Nova Scotians have been subjected to anti-Black hate crimes for centuries, starting with our enslavement in this province.

It is time for the criminal justice system in this province to protect us.

Hynes shot Dlamini in September 2018 and was convicted a year later in September 2019. After another one and a half years and seven postponements in sentencing, he has still not been sentenced. Justice delayed is justice denied.

While we appreciate careful judicial decision-making, Dlamini continues to live with the violent harm caused to him and the lingering affects of racial trauma. He will never regain complete functionality of his injured lung and will suffer emotional harm for the rest of his life. African Nova Scotians continue to be harmed by a system that does not protect us from racist violence and Hynes continues to live freely with no consequence for his violent action.

These delays and inaction reaffirm what African Nova Scotians have been saying for decades: When it comes to the justice system, Black Lives DO NOT matter. Therefore, we call for all parties to ensure that on April 23, 2021 Shawn Hynes is appropriately sentenced for his racially motivated assault in the shooting of Nhlanhla Dlamini.

We also call upon the Public Prosecution Service to establish a Hate Crimes Unit that will appropriately prosecute anti-Black hate crimes in the province as part of a comprehensive policy to ensure justice for African Nova Scotians across all aspects of the criminal system. The time is long overdue for justice within the criminal justice system.

Vanessa Fells, BA, BA(H), MEd

Director of Operations

ANSDPAD Coalition